La Causa buys former ManpowerGroup HQ building for $3 million

Renovation work to be completed this summer

Milwaukee nonprofit La Causa Inc. bought a 32,000-square-foot office building in Glendale for $3 million on Friday to use as office space for roughly 155 employees in its social services department.

Located in an office park at 5235 N. Ironwood Road near the Oak Leaf Trail and Milwaukee River, the building has been unused for several years and was purchased from AB Data, a Milwaukee-based direct marketing firm that works with nonprofits and advocacy organizations.

AB Data’s corporate headquarters is located directly north of the purchased property.

Both buildings once housed ManpowerGroup’s global headquarters. Manpower moved into its current downtown Milwaukee location overlooking the Milwaukee River between West Vliet and West Cherry streets in 2007.

La Causa is a wraparound service provider that offers a variety of support programs to low-income, predominantly Hispanic families at four locations on the city’s south side and one location in West Allis.

George Torres, president and chief executive officer of La Causa, said the organization’s social services department is currently run out of leased office space at 1212 S. 70th St. in West Allis, and the department’s staff of office workers, case workers, clinicians and psychiatrists could begin using the Glendale building as “home base” by mid-August.

“It’s pretty exciting stuff for us,” Torres said. “We’ve been looking for a building for our social services department. The agency itself has continued to grow at a pretty good clip here for the past seven or eight years. Most of our growth right now has been in the social services area.”

The building is several miles north of its other locations on the south side, but Torres said he does not expect the move will cause transportation or access problems for clients, since most of La Causa’s social service work is done in the field and not at its offices.

La Causa has experienced significant growth in multiple areas and employs nearly 400 people. Enrollment at its charter school at 1643 S. Second St. in Milwaukee has grown from 400 in 2007 to 810 this year. But its most rapid growth has occurred in its social services department as the organization, which has traditionally focused on children, has begun to offer more services to adults.

“We’re going to be starting our reconstruction in earnest now,” Torres said of the Glendale building. “We’ll be upgrading the facilities, repaving the parking lot, painting and doing reconstruction on the inside.”

The organization plans to eventually begin implementing programs for Hispanic veterans and the elderly in the future.

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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